Even as embattled Sahara Group chairman Subrata Roy today met Irdai chairman to seek more time to resolve the crisis at his life insurance arm, the largest private player ICICI Prudential submitted a valuation report to the regulator to take over the same. Last month, the Irdai appointed an administrator to run the crippled Lucknow-based Sahara Life due to governance- related issues at the company. “ICICI Prudential Life submitted a valuation report on the assets and liabilities of Sahara Life to Irdai today,” Irdai member (life insurance) Nilesh Sathe told PTI from Hyderabad. “In the interest of policyholders, the assets and liability of policyholders of Sahara Life will be transferred to ICICI Prudential Life shortly,” he said. “If all goes well, ICICI Pru may take over Sahara Life shortly,” Sathe, who is also functioning as an officiating member (finance and investment) at Irdai since June, said.
While an ICICI Prudential spokesman refused to comment on the development, citing silence period, Sahara Life chief executive Sanjay Agarwal also refused to confirm the development, saying he was travelling. Meanwhile, Irdai sources confirmed that Roy called on the chairman T S Vijayan in Hyderabad and sought some more time to resolve governance issues at the company. “Roy today met the Irdai chairman Vijayan and explained the position about Sahara Life, requesting the Irdai to grant them some more time to complete the governance norms,” an official of the regulator told PTI. But a source said there is no scope for granting additional time as Irdai has already appointed an administrator to run the Sahara Life. On June 23 this year, Irdai had appointed its general manager R K Sharma as an administrator for Sahara Life and deputed three of its junior level officials to assist him.
Even though everything is right at Sahara Life as the company is adequately capitalised with its solvency margin more than the regulatory requirement of 1.5, it is the governance-related issues that have become a matter of concern before the regulator, the source added. Some of the governance-related issues which have become a matter of concern before Irdai include the company not having appointed an actuary for a long time, not uploading company’s data, including its quarterly numbers, on the Irdai site for quite some time. In a letter on June 23, Irdai had directed Sahara Life to shutter its business with immediate effect and inform its intermediaries to not issue any fresh policies. The insurer, however, was allowed to collect renewal premia and service its around 3.5 lakh policyholders.